The World e-Sports Masters (WEM) was an international competitive gaming event, currently organized by the Hangzhou eSport Culture & Sport Communication Company, Ltd. Prize money are awarded to winning individuals and teams. It was first held in 2005 under the World e-Sports Games
The World eSports Games, Inc. was originally founded in 2004 by Paul Chong. Headquartered in Seoul, the first three games were held in South Korea in 2005. A year later, the event moved to Hangzhou where it was re-labeled as the World e-Sports Games Masters. In 2007, WEG once again returned to Seoul to host the World e-Sports Games e-Stars, but moved back to China for the 2008 season of what is now the World e-Sports Masters. Since then, it has been held annually (except for 2011), instead of year-round. OnGameNet is the current rightsholder to the World e-Sports Masters franchise.
The inaugural World e-Sports Games took place in 2005 from January 30 through March 20. and featured Counter-Strike and Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos as main titles. Players resided in Seoul, South Korea throughout most of the tournament and matches were broadcast on Korean television. The finals took place in Beijing, China. Attendees were all invited based on past performances and included the likes of Jang "Moon" Jae Ho, Team NoA and Li "Sky" Xiaofeng. The prize purse for both competitions totalled 138,000 USD. Eight Counter-Strike teams and sixteen WarCraft III players participated.
The second edition took place from May 30 to July 1, 2005 and was in most aspects comparable to the first edition except that qualifiers to determine the attendees took place in South Korea.
The third edition took place from October 19 to December 11, 2005. It was in most aspects comparable with the first two editions except that only the top three of the second edition was invited with the remainder of participants having to qualify. This edition also clashed with the World Cyber Games, causing several notable players to decline participating including Gediminas "WinneR" Rimkus the third-place finisher in the WarCraft III competition of the second edition.
The number of WarCraft III players attending went down from sixteen to twelve in the third edition.
It was recently announced that a renewed version of the World e-Sports Games featuring Counter-Strike, StarCraft and WarCraft III is to take place in Seoul, South-Korea and will conclude August, 2007.
Another edition of the World e-Sports Games titled 'World E-Sports Masters' was held in Hangzhou, China from October 26 till November 2 (2008) and will feature eight professional Counter-Strike teams as well as eight professional WarCraft III players competing for a 100.000 USD prize pool. After 3 seasons, the tournament was renamed the World eSports Masters, and moved to Hangzhou, China. As of 2012, the tournament hosts competitions for Starcraft 2 and League of Legends.